“Island Living” (Koh Samui, Thailand)

Island Living

Koh Samui, Thailand – October 12, 2017

Taking the sunset ferry to Koh Samui after flying into Surat Thani from Chiang Mai was the best idea ever. Flights in Asia are a bit more expensive than busses, but the busses take incredible amounts of time and often they’re running late, so it’s worth a few extra bucks to make sure you have a reliable mode of transport. We ordered Pad Thai on the pier and plunked ourselves on the bow of the ship to enjoy the 2 hour ferry ride. It was really one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen as we slowly drifted past small islands that were silhouetted against the neon orange sky. Flying fish flopped out of the way of our wake and people’s skin took on the soft hue of the sunlit sky. Heavy purple clouds passed overhead as the ship crew wound ropes preparing for the port. We watched as the sky faded away, wind sifting through our skin, white foam falling from the ship’s bow below.

Our night was spent in a super strange tattoo-parlor-turned-hostel in the middle of Chewang beach. From head to toe, the owners covered every square inch of their skin in tattoos and piercings, but they were very friendly and gave us free beers to drink with them on the front porch. People were getting pierced downstairs while we slept upstairs and showered uncomfortably in the frosted glass walk-in-shower that was totally exposed to the rest of the guests. Chewang beach wasn’t really our scene. It was set up to be super touristy, except since we’re here in the off season, it’s “touristy” without any of the actual tourists (which are the fun part). It was basically really expensive, only had high-end luxury shops and huge lack-luster restaurants that were far from the cute traditional “Thai” atmosphere we were looking for. We were two of only three guests (and definitely felt quite out of place here), so we decided to migrate to a different beach town on the island.

We took breakfast on Chaweng beach before packing up for Lamai. Several stray doggies burrowed into little beach nests they built, played in the water and snapped at little jumping shrimp that flung themselves in front of them. Woman seasoned green papaya salad and toasted purple peanuts and corncobs under big bright umbrellas, people piled massive stacks of floaty-toys for sale on their backs, and men walked around with long rack contraptions selling whittled wooden wind chimes. Bright pink umbrellas popped up when it started to rain, but we were safe in our little breakfast spot on the beach. We prodded our toes in the white sand while watching the beach become populated with people playing ping pong and other water sports.

The Chill Inn Hostel was a cute little place ran by three jolly Irishmen. Everything you needed was right there at the hostel: the beach, a bar, a restaurant, cabanas, chill-zones, comfy beds and bike rentals. Finally we’re living the “island life!” We quickly changed into our swimmies and hopped into the warm watersWe sipped sex on the beaches while watching little white crabs scuttle up and down the beach, building homes, moving rocks and fighting over territory… their entire lives revolve around their little holes in the sand! The owners gave the newcomers a welcome spiel and tried to get us on board with excursion tours. I’m always pretty disappointed with paid-for-tours as I usually come out thinking I could have done it myself for much cheaper. Maybe I’m spoiled and have just seen way too many amazing things to appreciate snorkeling in murky water with dying corals all trampled by tourists. Me and Monique (a Dutch girl I’ve been with basically since Ayutthaya) rented mopeds with three Dutch boys at the hostel and the owners helped us plan our day for tomorrow.

The five of us split a taxi to the night market that only happened every Sunday in Lamai. First we tried honey-glazed chicken that was really one of the best bbq chickens I’ve ever eaten. We moved on to find some prawn Pad Thai (since we’re now on the sea, I’m sticking to seafood). The Dutchies were missing Dutch pancakes, so they ordered banana Nutella crapes for dessert. Several market stands were selling hand-made ice cream that was created right in front of you on a cold-stone style steel plate. The man folded in pieces of mango and passion fruit with utensils that looked like paint scrapers. He flattened the mixture across his cold plate and then used the tools to curl the finished ice cream into four frozen rolls. I watched in awe along with all the little kids around me as he passed me the perfect personally flavored delight.


Alena Horowitz | Miss Potato

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